WWW Wednesday (8 Feb)

WWW pic

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open for anyone to join in and is a great way to share what you’ve been reading! All you have to do is answer three questions and share a link to your blog in the comments section of Sam’s blog.

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

A similar meme is run by Lipsyy Lost and Found where bloggers share This Week in Books #TWiB.

What I’m reading now:


Days Without End by Sebastian Barry

This books was one of my recent birthday gifts. I started reading it last night and it’s a beautiful read. I want to savour the writing so plan on reading this slowly but I highly recommend it.


‘I am thinking of the days without end of my life…’

After signing up for the US army in the 1850s, aged barely seventeen, Thomas McNulty and his brother-in-arms, John Cole, go on to fight in the Indian wars and, ultimately, the Civil War.

Having fled terrible hardships they find these days to be vivid and filled with wonder, despite the horrors they both see and are complicit in. Their lives are further enriched and imperilled when a young Indian girl crosses their path, and the possibility of lasting happiness emerges, if only they can survive.

Moving from the plains of the West to Tennessee, Sebastian Barry’s latest work is a masterpiece of atmosphere and language. Both an intensely poignant story of two men and the lives they are dealt, and a fresh look at some of the most fateful years in America’s past, Days Without End is a novel never to be forgotten.


Just Kids by Patti Smith

I’ve owned the ebook of this for ages but it never seems to get to the top of my TBR… it was recently offered for free on Audible so I downloaded it. I started listening to the audio book today and am really enjoying it. Patti Smith is the narrator so that really adds to the listening experience.


A prelude to fame, Just Kids recounts the friendship of two young artists–Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe – whose passion fueled their lifelong pursuit of art.

In 1967, a chance meeting between two young people led to a romance and a lifelong friendship that would carry each to international success never dreamed of. The backdrop is
Brooklyn, Chelsea Hotel, Max’s Kansas City, Scribner’s Bookstore, Coney Island, Warhol’s Factory and the whole city resplendent. Among their friends, literary lights, musicians and artists such as Harry Smith, Bobby Neuwirth, Allen Ginsberg, Sandy Daley, Sam Shepherd, William Burroughs, etc. It was a heightened time politically and culturally; the art and music worlds exploding and colliding. In the midst of all this two kids made a pact to always care for one another. Scrappy, romantic, committed to making art, they prodded and provided each other with faith and confidence during the hungry years–the days of cous-cous and lettuce soup.

Just Kids begins as a love story and ends as an elegy. Beautifully written, this is a profound portrait of two young artists, often hungry, sated only by art and experience. And an
unforgettable portrait of New York, her rich and poor, hustlers and
hellions, those who made it and those whose memory lingers near.


And The Sun Shines Now by Adrian Tempany

This book is a really interesting read. I remember watching the Hillsborough disaster on the TV with my parents and being horrified at what I was seeing. I’ve followed the investigations into what happened in recent years but what I had never really thought about was how much football was changed by what happened that day. I was only 10 so didn’t really remember what football was like before then. This book looks at what happened that day, the politics surrounding the aftermath and how the Premier League came to be what it is today.


On 15 April 1989, 96 people were fatally injured on a football terrace at an FA Cup semi-final in Sheffield. The Hillsborough disaster was broadcast live on the BBC; it left millions of people traumatised, and English football in ruins.

And the Sun Shines Now is not a book about Hillsborough. It is a book about what arrived in the wake of unquestionably the most controversial tragedy in the post-war era of Britain’s history. The Taylor Report. Italia 90. Gazza’s tears. All seater stadia. Murdoch. Sky. Nick Hornby. The Premier League. The transformation of a game that once connected club to community to individual into a global business so rapacious the true fans have been forgotten, disenfranchised.

In powerful polemical prose, against a backbone of rigorous research and interviews, Adrian Tempany deconstructs the past quarter century of English football and examines its place in the world. How did Hillsborough and the death of 96 Liverpool fans come to change the national game beyond recognition? And is there any hope that clubs can reconnect with a new generation of fans when you consider the startling statistic that the average age of season ticket holder here is 41, compared to Germany’s 21?

Perhaps the most honest account of the relationship between the football and the state yet written, And the Sun Shines Now is a brutal assessment of the modern game.


Books for Living by Will Schwalbe

This is such a wonderful book. I loved Will Schwalbe’s previous book so have been keen to read this one. Unfortunately the NetGalley copy is really difficult to read because of all the copyrighting through the book so I may have to leave this one for now and wait until I can buy a copy. The actual writing is wonderful though.


Why is it that we read? Is it to pass time? To learn something new? To escape into another reality?
For Will Schwalbe, reading is a way to entertain himself but also to make sense of the world, to become a better person, and to find the answers to the big (and small) questions about how to live his life. In this delightful celebration of reading, Schwalbe invites us along on his quest for books that speak to the specific challenges of living in our modern world, with all its noise and distractions.
In each chapter, he discusses a particular book-what brought him to it (or vice versa), the people in his life he associates with it, and how it became a part of his understanding of himself in the world. These books span centuries and genres (from classic works of adult and children’s literature to contemporary thrillers and even a cookbook), and each one relates to the questions and concerns we all share. Throughout, Schwalbe focuses on the way certain books can help us honour those we’ve loved and lost, and also figure out how to live each day more fully.
Rich with stories and recommendations, Books for Living is a treasure for everyone who loves books and loves to hear the answer to the question: “What are you reading?”


The Good Immigrant ed. by Nikesh Shukla

This has been on my wishlist for a while so when I spotted it in the Kindle sale last week I snapped it up. I’m reading it slowly so that I can really take in and think about what is being said. I highly recommend it.


How does it feel to be constantly regarded as a potential threat, strip-searched at every airport?

Or be told that, as an actress, the part you’re most fitted to play is ‘wife of a terrorist’? How does it feel to have words from your native language misused, misappropriated and used aggressively towards you? How does it feel to hear a child of colour say in a classroom that stories can only be about white people? How does it feel to go ‘home’ to India when your home is really London? What is it like to feel you always have to be an ambassador for your race? How does it feel to always tick ‘Other’?

Bringing together 21 exciting black, Asian and minority ethnic voices emerging in Britain today, The Good Immigrant explores why immigrants come to the UK, why they stay and what it means to be ‘other’ in a country that doesn’t seem to want you, doesn’t truly accept you – however many generations you’ve been here – but still needs you for its diversity monitoring forms.

Inspired by discussion around why society appears to deem people of colour as bad immigrants – job stealers, benefit scroungers, undeserving refugees – until, by winning Olympic races or baking good cakes, or being conscientious doctors, they cross over and become good immigrants, editor Nikesh Shukla has compiled a collection of essays that are poignant, challenging, angry, humorous, heartbreaking, polemic, weary and – most importantly – real.


The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

I’ve not managed to pick this up since last week as I’m still struggling to hold the print copy. I’ve really enjoyed what I have read but it’s just slow-going with my health being what it is at the moment.



The Roanoke girls seem to have it all. But there’s a dark truth about them which is never spoken. Every girl either runs away, or dies.

Lane is one of the lucky ones. When she was fifteen, over one long, hot summer at her grandparents’ estate in rural Kansas, she found out what it really means to be a Roanoke girl. Lane ran, far and fast. Until eleven years later, when her cousin Allegra goes missing – and Lane has no choice but to go back.

She is a Roanoke girl.

Is she strong enough to escape a second time?


The Age of Bowie by Paul Morley

I’ve managed to read a bit more of this over the last week as the section I’m up to is set out in really small segments, which are perfect for dipping in and out of as and when I can manage to hold the book. 


Respected arts commentator Paul Morley, one of the team who curated the highly successful retrospective exhibition for the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, David Bowie Is . . . constructs the definitive story of Bowie that explores how he worked, played, aged, structured his ideas, invented the future and entered history as someone who could and would never be forgotten. Morley will capture the greatest moments of Bowie’s career; from the recording studio with the likes of Brian Eno and Tony Visconti; to iconic live performances from the 1970s, 80s and 90s, as well as the various encounters and artistic relationships he developed with rock luminaries John Lennon, Lou Reed and Iggy Pop. And of course, discuss in detail his much-heralded, and critically-acclaimed comeback with the release of Black Star just days before his shocking death in New York.
Morley will offer a startling biographical critique of David Bowie’s legacy, showing how he never stayed still even when he withdrew from the spotlight, how he always knew his own worth, and released a dazzling plethora of mobile Bowies into the world with a bloody-minded determination and a voluptuous imagination to create something amazing that was not there before.


What I recently finished reading:


Rage by Richard Bachman (Stephen King)

I was sorting through my books over the last few days and found I owned a copy of this. I don’t know where it came from as I’m sure it’s not mine but I opened it to see what it was about and ending up reading it in one sitting. It’s about a school shooting but has more depth to it than I expected.


A disturbed high-school student with authority problems kills one of his teachers and takes the rest of his class hostage. Over the course of one long, tense and unbearable hot afternoon, Charlie Decker explains what led him to this drastic sequence of events, while at the same time deconstructing the personalities of his classmates, forcing each one to justify his or her existence.


Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands by Chris Bohjalian

This was another of my birthday gifts and I really enjoyed reading it. I would say that it’s not the best book by this author but it is a really good read. 


Emily Shepard is on the run; the nuclear plant where her father worked has suffered a cataclysmic meltdown, and all fingers point to him. Now, orphaned, homeless, and certain that she s a pariah, Emily s taken to hiding out on the frigid streets of Burlington, Vermont, creating a new identity inspired by her favorite poet, Emily Dickinson.
Then she meets Cameron. Nine years old and with a string of foster families behind him, he sparks something in Emily, and she protects him with a fierceness she didn t know she possessed. But when an emergency threatens the fledgling home she s created, Emily realizes that she can’t hide forever.”


The Secrets of Happiness by Lucy Diamond

I listened to the audiobook of this over the last few days and really enjoyed it. It was an easy read but one that I found engaging enough to keep me interested. It’s made me want to pick up more of Lucy Diamond’s novels in the future.


The best things in life . . . can be just around the corner

Rachel and Becca aren’t real sisters, or so they say. They are stepsisters, living far apart, with little in common. Rachel is the successful one: happily married with three children and a big house, plus an impressive career. Artistic Becca, meanwhile, lurches from one dead-end job to another, shares a titchy flat, and has given up on love.

The two of them have lost touch, but when Rachel doesn’t come home one night, Becca is called in to help.
Once there, she quickly realizes that her stepsister’s life is not so perfect after all: Rachel’s handsome husband
has moved out, her children are rebelling, and her glamorous career has taken a nosedive. Worst of all,
nobody seems to have a clue where she might be.

As Becca begins to untangle Rachel’s secrets, she is forced to confront some uncomfortable truths about
her own life, and the future seems uncertain.

But sometimes happiness can be found in the most unexpected places . . .


Last Night in Montreal by Emily St. John Mandel

I very much enjoyed this book and am so glad I finally picked it up. It’s an intriguing story that is beautifully written. I can see how Emily St. John went from here to Station Eleven. I definitely want to read her other books soon.


Lilia has been leaving people behind her entire life. Haunted by her inability to remember her early childhood, and by a mysterious shadow that seems to dog her wherever she goes, Lilia moves restlessly from city to city, abandoning lovers and friends along the way. But then she meets Eli, and he’s not ready to let her go, not without a fight.

Gorgeously written, charged with tension and foreboding, Emily St. John Mandel’s Last Night in Montreal is the story of a life spent at the centre of a criminal investigation. It is a novel about identity, love and amnesia, the depths and limits of family bonds and – ultimately – about the nature of obsession.


The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

This book is huge but I still read it over just ten days and I loved it. The story goes round and around and the characters kept on surprising me. When I wasn’t reading it I couldn’t wait to get back to it and now I’ve finished it I really miss it. I highly recommend this.


It is 1866, and Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the New Zealand goldfields. On arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of twelve local men, who have met in secret to discuss a series of unsolved crimes. A wealthy man has vanished, a whore has tried to end her life, and an enormous fortune has been discovered in the home of a luckless drunk. Moody is soon drawn into the mystery: a network of fates and fortunes that is as complex and exquisitely patterned as the night sky.
The Luminaries is an extraordinary piece of fiction. It is full of narrative, linguistic and psychological pleasures, and has a fiendishly clever and original structuring device. Written in pitch-perfect historical register, richly evoking a mid-19th century world of shipping and banking and goldrush boom and bust, it is also a ghost story, and a gripping mystery. It is a thrilling achievement and will confirm for critics and readers that Catton is one of the brightest stars in the international writing firmament.


Well-Read Women by Samantha Hahn

This isn’t really a book to read but I’m including it because the paintings and quotes kept me engrossed looking at this for a whole afternoon, even though it’s only 112 pages long. I’d recommend this to all book lovers, it’s a gorgeous book. I think it’ll be one I often get out to look at.


A treasure of a gift for the well-read woman, this collection brings together 50 stirring portraits, in watercolour and in word, of literature’s most well-read female characters. Anna Karenina, Clarissa Dalloway, Daisy Buchanan…each seems to live on the page through celebrated artist Samantha Hahn’s evocative portraits and hand-lettered quotations, with the pairing of art and text capturing all the spirit of the character as she was originally written. The book itself evokes vintage grace re-imagined for contemporary taste, with a cloth spine silk-screened in a graphic pattern, debossed cover, and pages that turn with the tactile satisfaction of watercolour paper. In the hand and in the reading, here is a new classic for the book lover’s library.


What I plan on reading next:


The Unseeing by Anna Mazzola

I bought this at the end of last week and I can’t wait to start it, it sounds so good!


After Sarah petitions for mercy, Edmund Fleetwood is appointed to investigate and consider whether justice has been done. Idealistic, but struggling with his own demons, Edmund is determined to seek out the truth. Yet Sarah refuses to help him, neither lying nor adding anything to the evidence gathered in court. Edmund knows she’s hiding something, but needs to discover just why she’s maintaining her silence. For how can it be that someone would willingly go to their own death?



Watch Me by Angela Clarke

I really enjoyed Follow Me when I read it so have been eagerly awaiting the second book in this series. I hope to get a chance to start reading it over the next few days!



The body of a 15-year-old is found hours after she sends a desperate message to her friends. It looks like suicide, until a second girl disappears.

This time, the message is sent directly to the Metropolitan Police – and an officer’s younger sister is missing.

DS Nasreen Cudmore and journalist Freddie Venton will stop at nothing to find her. But whoever’s behind the notes is playing a deadly game of hide and seek – and the clock is ticking.



Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

I can’t believe that I’ve not read this novel before! I finally bought myself a copy this week and don’t think it’ll be on my TBR for more than  few days as it sounds incredible.


Latin terrorists storm an international gathering hosted by an underprivileged country to promote foreign interest and trade, only to find that their intended target, the President, has stayed home to watch his favourite soap opera on TV. Among the hostages are a world class opera singer and her biggest fan, a Japanese tycoon who has been persuaded to attend the party on the understanding that she will perform half a dozen arias after dinner.

The tycoon’s engaging and sympathetic translator plays a vital role in the subsequent relationships between so many different nationalities closeted together, interpreting not only the terrorists’ negotiations but also the language of love between lovers who cannot understand what the other is saying.

Ultimately, it is the terrorist strike that does more to promote foreign relations than anyone could have hoped to achieve with the party.

What are you reading at the moment? Have you finished any good books recently? Any books you’re looking forward to reading soon? Please feel free to join in with this meme and share your link below, or if you don’t have a blog please share in the comments below.

Weekly Wrap-Up (5 Feb)

Weekly Wrap up SQUARE copyrighted

I don’t have much news from this week, it’s been quite a quiet week really. I’ve been slowly carrying on with my decluttering and have filled another three huge bin bags with either things for the charity shop, or rubbish. I’m still feeling ruthless so will be carrying on with the decluttering for a while yet! I need to get around to clearing some shelf space as currently all the lovely books I got for my birthday are in a box as there is literally no space to put them on any of my bookcases or shelves! Eeeek!

This week I’ve finished reading three books:

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

I had the ebook of this on my TBR for ages but just never got around to it so when I spotted it on an Audible deal recently I snapped it up. I’ve listened to it over the course of a couple of days and it was ok. I think the book has been so hyped for so long that it was going to be a huge ask for it to live up to. It was enjoyable enough but I was a bit disappointed.

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

I love love love this book! It was close to 900 pages long and I’ve read it over the last ten days or so – I couldn’t stop thinking about it when I wasn’t reading it, and now I’ve finished it I really miss it. It made me remember how much I used to adore reading big books and I’m definitely going to make more effort to read longer books. I highly recommend this book if you haven’t read it yet.

Well-Read Women by Samantha Hahn

This is a book I got for my birthday and I adore it. It’s such a beautiful book and whilst it’s only 112 pages and is predominantly paintings I’ve added it as a read book here because I literally spent a few hours looking at the paintings and reading the quotes. This is a fabulous book for a book lover – I’m definitely going to be buying copies as gifts in the future.

This week I’ve blogged five times:

Sunday: Weekly Wrap-Up (29 Jan) where I shared all my book, blogging and real life news from the previous week.

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday (1 Feb) where I shared what I was currently reading, what I’d recently read and what I was hoping to read next.

Thursday: January Wrap-Up where I wrapped up the first month of 2017, sharing all the books I’d read, links to all my reviews and blog posts, and how my plan to reduce my TBR was going.

Friday: My Birthday Book Haul where I shared my huge haul of books that I was lucky enough to receive for my birthday last weekend.

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves where I wrote about the books I bought myself or received for review over the last seven days.


This is what I’m currently reading:

Books for Living by Will Schwalbe

I completely and utterly fell in love with Will Schwalbe’s previous book so I’ve been really keen to read this one. So far the book is wonderful but unfortunately my copy is from NetGalley and the formatting is making it very hard for me to read. I’m considering putting it to one side for now and buying my own copy to read. 

The Good Immigrant ed. by Nikesh Shukla 

This is a book that I’ve been wanting to read for ages so when I spotted it for the bargain price of £2.99 on Kindle this week I snapped it up. I’ve read the first four essays so far and it’s a very thought-provoking read. I want to read this slowly and give myself time to really think about what’s being said so I’m reading an essay or two each day. I definitely recommend it though. 

Last Night in Montreal by Emily St. John Mandel

When I started reading this it seemed very different from Station Eleven (which I read a few years ago and completely adored) but as I get further into it and more and more layers are peeled back it’s really clear how the author got from here to there. I’m really enjoying this book.

Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands by Chris Bohjalian

This book, like the two below, is a really enjoyable novel but my reading of it is being hampered by my struggles with holding a physical book at the moment. The novel itself is really engaging though and I would recommend it.

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

This is a really heavy , stiff paperback book to hold so I’m struggling to hold it open to read. I’m enjoying the story but may have to give up on this one until I can get hold of an ebook version.

The Age of Bowie by Paul Morley

I’m still enjoying this book but the format is slowing my reading down. My husband is thinking of getting the audio book version as I’ve been recommending the book to him ever since I started reading it so I may well end up listening to it with him.


Update on my TBR…

TBR at the start of January 2017: 1885 (see my State of the TBR post)

TBR in last week’s Weekly Wrap-Up: 1889

Books bought/received for review: 12

TBR Books culled this week: 0

TBR now stands at: 1904

I really hope to at least get my TBR back under 1900 this month – ideally by reading lots of my own books and not accumulating more, but I do need to do a cull at some point too to make room for my birthday books.



I’m linking this post up to Kimberly at Caffeinated Book Reviewer’s Sunday Blog Share.  It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.


How has your week been? What have you been reading? Please share in the comments below. If you write a wrap-up on your blog please feel free to share the link. 🙂

Stacking the Shelves (21 Jan)


(Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews, which is all about sharing the books that you’ve acquired in the past week – ebooks or physical books, and books you’ve bought or borrowed or received an ARC of.)


The plans I made two weeks ago in my State of my TBR post to try and focus more on the books I already own isn’t going too well. This week I have more new books on my TBR. The only good news is that I’m reading a lot at the moment so my TBR isn’t increasing too much.

This week I’ve bought four new books:

Almost Famous Women by Megan Mayhew Bergman 

This book has been on my wishlist for ages so when I noticed the hardback drop in price in a recent sale I grabbed it! I’m so looking forward to finally getting to read this book.

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion 

I bought this in a recent Audible deal of the day. I really enjoy listening to audiobooks, especially when I’m not able to hold a print book or my kindle for very long due to pain. I know I must be the last person to get to reading this book but better late than never, and I am looking forward to listening to it now I finally have a copy!

The Elephant in the Room by Jon Ronson 

This is a Kindle Single so a very short book. It’s about the Republican campaign so a very timely read and so one I want to get to very, very soon.

The Six-Foot Bonsai by Stacy Gleiss

A fellow blogger commented on my WWW Wednesday post this week to say that this is what she was currently reading and it sounded so fascinating that I immediately looked it up on Amazon. As it was available on Kindle Unlimited I decided to download it straight away and give it a go.

Books I received for review:

Books for Living by Will Schwalbe 

Will Schwalbe’s book The End of Your Life Bookclub is one of my favourite books and I added it to a list I made about books that help you through grief (you can read that blog post here: Books to help you through grieving). I adore that book and so when I found out that he had another book about books coming out soon I couldn’t resist requesting a review copy. This won’t be on my TBR for very long, I can’t wait to read it.

Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson

I heard about this book recently and thought it sounded really interesting. I’m very much looking forward to reading this.

The Best We Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir by Thi Bui

Last year was the year I finally gave graphic novels and memoirs a try and I couldn’t believe I’d avoided them for so long. I really enjoyed the ones I read – one even made my Top non-fiction reads of 2016, which you can read about here: My Top Ten Non-Fiction Reads 2016 and two others made the honourable mentions section of my best fiction reads, which you can read about here: Top Ten Fiction Reads 2016. In 2017 I’d like to continue to pick up some graphic novels or memoirs so when I saw this one on NetGalley I immediately requested it.

The Affair by Amanda Brooke

I was sent an invitation to read this book via NetGalley and decided to give it a go. I don’t know if it’ll be my kind of read or not but I’m always happy to try something different when it comes to books.


So, that’s all of my new books from the past week. Have you bought any new books recently? Tell me all in the comments below, or if you have a stacking the shelves post on your blog feel free to post the link below too.:)

My weekly wrap up post will be on my blog tomorrow so please look out for that.